“Hey, I’m your host: DJ Sufjan. Thanks for coming,” he says, trying to stir the audience.
It will be a night of art — but exactly how, or what kind of art, no one is certain.
Stevens speaks for a brief moment and introduces the first act, singer/songwriter DM Smith. Unlike most folk singers, Smith is backed by six other musicians: a percussionist, a bassist, a cellist, two violinists and a viola player. The classical backing only serves to assist his enchanting howl, which channels Eastern rhythms. His short set is defined by simple, delicate arrangements, like an appetizer before the main course.
A few moments pass, and Stevens climbs the stage once more. This time, he explains that his second album, “Enjoy Your Rabbit,” was an electronic experiment that no one seemed to understand. As a result, he had the songs rewritten for the string quartet Osso, a group of classically trained women who perform interpretations of Stevens’ songs. Stevens’ experimental computer distortion transforms into high notes. The audience, formerly busy in conversation, is respectably silent. Dreamy sequences approach and linger as each song reaches a close. It is, most definitely, a non-traditional take on a classical medium.
After the jump, enjoy a few more photos from the multimedia extravaganza, or view the complete photo album at 92YTribeca’s Facebook.